11 Med. Sci. & L. 1 (1971)

handle is hein.journals/mdsclw11 and id is 1 raw text is: 



                                                  and the LAW

   Vol.   II                  January     1971                      No.   i


THE  main  object for the foundation of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences
was  cross-fertilisation of Medicine. Science and Law. This has  been achieved
with some success in respect of Medicine and Law but has been disappointing with
Science. Much   thought has been given to why this is so and there are probably
several reasons which should be considered. The first is that members of the Science
Section have  been, in the main, drawn   from Forensic  Scientists who in their
turn are members  of the Home  Office Forensic Science Laboratories, whilst those
associated with Law  and Medicine  do not belong to any  organised service and,
therefore, have a somewhat greater breadth of approach.
   It is a matter for comment   as to which  is the best way to overcome   this
problem  of lack of communication, for the future approach to the administration
of justice will rest upon the decision made. Clearly there are two courses open
in the future-or  possibly more. Either there must  be  recruited and available
more  independent  scientific experts from such bodies as  learned societies or
universities, or there must be closer association between members of the forensic
science laboratories and doctors and lawyers. The  former can only be  brought
about by  establishing a panel of experts outside the laboratories, the latter by a
similar conception to that on the Continent-institutes which afford close geo-
graphical association between Medicine, Science and Law, and obviously in view
of the various specialised disciplines involved, in close association with universities
and  industry. This is no new idea because it was  put forward in 1936 by  Dr.
W.  G. Barnard  in a paper read before the Medico-Legal  Society and published
in the Medico-Legal and  Criminological Review in 1937.  Even that was not  an
Original conception, for he drew  attention to the fact that the Medico-Legal
Society, from its earliest days, had emphasised the need for such an Institute. This,
in fact, was incorporated in the minutes of the Medico-Legal Society in an appendix
to its Transactions for the Session 1923-24,1 following a discussion opened by the

1  Medico-Legal and Criminological Review, Vol. V, Pt. I: Transactions of the Medico-Legal
   Society, Vols. XVIII-XIx.

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